Abortion is arguably one of the most debated topics in the modern 20th century

Abortion is arguably one of the most debated topics in the modern 20th century. The sides argued in this debate are pro-life and pro-choice. This debate can be found in politics, planned parenthood discussions, and even philosophy. Many philosophers have tired to settle this debate in terms of morality. Don Marquis addresses this debate in his article “Why abortion is immoral” supporting the pro-life choice. On the other hand, Judith Jarvis Thomson supports the pro-choice position in her article “A Defense of Abortion”. After reading both articles and critically analyzing them I believe that Thompson presents a much more persuasive case.
Thompsons article “A defense of Abortion” finds abortion morally permissible. To persuade her readers that abortion is morally permissible she writes a well-crafted argument with many claims, supportive conclusions, and thought experiments. To begin her article, she states her views surrounding abortion. Thompson grants that for the sake of the argument that an embryo is considered a person. From this statement she then claims that one can’t effectively argue that abortion is morally impermissible based on whether or not an embryo is a human. After this she presents the basic argument for abortion. The basic argument states the following: A fetus is a person and everyone has a right to life, therefore a fetus has a right to life. The mother has a right to decide what happens in and to he body, but a fetus’ right to life outweighs the mothers right to choose. Therefore, the fetus may not be aborted. However, Thompson refutes the basic argument by saying that abortion is morally permissible in cases where abortion is necessary to save the mother, in cases of rape, or failed contraception. To support her claim that abortion is morally permissible in cases of rape she creates the violin thought experiment. The violin thought experiment is when imaging waking up in the morning and finding yourself attached in bed with an unconscious famous violinist. Whom has been found to have a fatal kidney problem, and the Society of Music Lovers has found that you alone have the right blood type to help him. The society has therefore unknowingly plugged your circulatory systems together so that he will not die. But, in nine months he will have recovered and can be unplugged from you. A majority of people would say that you are not morally obligated to keep the violinist to stay attached to you. This would suggest that abortion in cases of rape is morally permissible. Another thought experiment that makes her argument very persuasive is the people seeds thought experiment. This thought experiment brings into question if it is morally permissible to abort a child in cases where a woman who has conscientiously used contraception, but which has failed through no fault of the woman. The thought experiment is presented as so suppose people-seeds drifted about in the air like pollen, and if you open your windows, one may drift in and take root in your carpet or upholstery. People who don’t want children use protective barriers such as mesh. Suppose you buy the finest mesh and one somehow manages to still slip though. Does this people seed now have a right to develop and use your house? This thought experiment once more points to the moral permissibility of abortion in some cases such as failed contraception. Her other big thought experiment is about Henry Fonda. In this thought experiment henry Fonda has the ability to save your life by the touch f his hand. But if the touch of henry Fonda is the only thing that can save your life, he would be wrong not to help you. Is he morally responsible to help you even though he never agreed to do so? Is a mother with an unwanted pregnancy from rape or failed contraception obliged to keep the child even if they never agreed or wanted it? This relates back to abortion by saying that a right to life doesn’t include the bare minimum of what one needs for continued life. If it did include the bare minimum then abortion debate would be very short and limited to cases where the mother’s life is threatened. Overall Thompson thought experiment help to persuade her reader that abortion is in some cases morally permissible.
In opposition Marquis take the side in his article “Why abortion is immoral” that abortion is morally impermissible. To begin his argument Marquis makes the assumption that it is typically wrong to murder an adult human being. He then poses the question, “What makes it wrong to kill”? What makes it wrong to kill is the loss of one’s life, which deprive one of experiences, activities, and projects that would have made one’s future. The same future infants and fetuses have. Therefore, making is wrong to kill them as it is to kill and adult. This conclusion is the bulk of his argument. He then goes on to consider various objections to his view. The first objection is that fetuses cannot themselves value their own futures, their futures are thereby not valuable to them. The second objection is that a being cannot have a right to life unless it expressly desires its own continued existence. Fetuses do not value in such a way, they cannot have a right to life. He argues that these two objections have a similar flaw, which is that just because a being does not currently value or desire something, it does not make that thing invaluable to, or undesirable. His third objection takes contraception into consideration. If Marquis’ theory is right that makes contraception immoral. He then argues that nothing is wrong with contraception because it doesn’t deprive a human of its future of value.
While Marquis does makes a strong argument Thomson’s argument is more persuasive. Take into consideration the concept that the embryo might not be considered a human at conception. This is where Marquis’ argument falls apart. To support the conclusion that an embryo isn’t a human at conception Thomson uses an oak tree analogy. She quotes that “Similar things might be said about the development of an acorn into an oak tree, and it does not follow that acorns are oak trees, or that we had better say they are”. Marquis fails to even discuss this idea about abortion. Another problem in Marquis’ argument is that he relies on the fetuses having fortunate lives. However, what about children born into tremendously difficult lives. While many children will have fortunate childhoods, some are unlucky. This is yet another topic that Marquis failed to consider in his argument. Another flaw in his article is when he says “Almost all people believe that it is wrong, to withdraw medical treatment from patients who are temporarily unconscious”. The problem is that Marquis does not explain what temporarily unconscious means. In addition, I personally don’t believe in passive euthanasia or not withdrawing care. These flaws furthermore strengthen Thompsons already strong argument. Thompson is stronger because it addresses the need for an additional link between the conclusion that an unborn fetus is a person and that killing the fetus is impermissible. The missing link is that taking the life of a person is always wrong. Killing is sometimes permissible as seen in self-defense cases. Thompson presents the pro-life position and then the violinist thought experiment. The thought experiment employs our moral intuition and leads to a chain of logical conclusions. She also creates many parallels between a sexual assault case and the violinist. Both circumstances waking up being surprised. Both the violinist and the unborn child are attached to a body, which they need survive. Both circumstances cease after nine months. These parallels strengthen her thought experiment and prove that abortion is morally permissible in some cases. All of her following thought experiments (Henry Fonda and seed people) include the same sense of strong parallels and once again prove that abortion is morally permissible. I also personally find thought experiments to more convincing in philosophical papers.